The photographic archive consists of about 700,000 items, including negative plates and films, prints and slides, produced or commissioned by the advertising and communication department. The photographs were commissioned from external photographers (some of whom, such as Aldo Ballo, Arno Hammacher, Ugo Mulas and Federico Patellani, have made the history of photography) or were taken by photographers in the company. The photos were used for product catalogues and advertising campaigns and to illustrate company magazines.
The archive is divided into different holdings, dating from different periods:
- The photo library of the Ufficio Sviluppo Propaganda Pneumatici e Accessori (1910-50). This office, which worked on advertisements for tyres and accessories, was set up in about 1920. The collection contains photographs divided and classified by subject, with its main focus on motor and cycling races, vehicles with Pirelli tyres (cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, and agricultural machines), and trade fairs.
- Photo library of the Direzione Propaganda (1950-70). The "propaganda" department was set up in 1950 when the three existing advertising services (one for each of the three production sectors: tyres, cables, and miscellaneous items) were centralised. It was responsible for advertisements for products made by Pirelli and its subsidiaries. The photographs in this collection are also divided and classified by subject: factories, offices and branches, processing, advertisements and publicity, trade fairs, products (tyres, cables, and miscellaneous products), and racing.
- The collection of the Public Relations and Information Department (1950-80). These are folders divided by subject, created by bringing together photographs from the Propaganda Department collection and others that were taken in the 1970s and early 1980s. The folders concern the history of the company and the factories, advertising campaigns and brands, as well as designs of various models of tyres, and car and motorcycle races.
Priority has been given to consulting the catalogue by subject, but the entry for each photograph also shows the original series and the collection it belongs to. It is also possible to filter all the photographs that belong to the same series.